Mitdrastischen words complained a year after the terrorist attack on BerlinerBreitscheidplatz relatives of the deceased about the "failure of the Federal Republic". No one from the official side took care of the bereaved and survivors in the days following the crime. Many victims have not only lost loved ones and experienced terrible things, but feel left alone. The announced aid came sparingly, the paper mountains of applications were getting bigger. Many waited months for payments. They joined together as a group, looked after each other, wrote an open letter to the Federal Government. Only a year after the crime, they met the chancellor for a conversation. Her letter caused a stir in the media, triggered a debate about the general treatment of victims of violence.
Now, almost three years after the crime, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) wants to act. This Friday, he presented in the Bundestag a new Social Compensation Act. The classic war victims welfare and the previous victim compensation law should be replaced. Planned is a number of innovations. But what changes should the law bring? And why was it a scandal in the Bundestag?
In the future, it should be faster and more targeted. Compensation benefits will be substantially increased, both single payments and orphan pensions. The law also stipulates that trauma ambulances will be created across the entire area. These are facilities in which people can be cared for medically and psychologically after attacks - without having to wait long for appointments. At the same time, case managers in offices are trying to remedy the situation. The new employees are to assist terrorists and victims of violence with applications. Often these are confronted with bureaucratic hurdles shortly after the crime. In the future, it should no longer matter whether a victim is a German citizen or not. So if tourists are affected by the terrorist attacks in Berlin, they should also be able to apply for assistance under the law. Also new is the consideration of so-called shock victims, who witnessed an attack, but have lost no close person.
Sacrificial associations are making progress
Edgar Franke, Sacrificial Commissioner of the Federation, sees the law as "a great step forward for those affected". On Friday he should have spoken in the Bundestag. But he has traveled to Halle, attends mourning events. When asked by ZEIT ONLINE he says: "Above all, the increased pension and compensation benefits will help victims and survivors."
Franke can make a lot of positive things out of the merger of the victims of the war and the victims' compensation so far. At the same time, he criticizes that even under the law not all "services would come from one source". Instead, four different carriers continue to be involved, such as accident and pension insurers. A kind of compensation for victims could bundle this. "Then it could be made even more bureaucratic and faster."
Above all, Franke hopes that changes will be made in the legislative process. "We should stipulate benefits such as medical treatment, rehab and aids according to the highest standards in Germany," he says. "Victims of terrorist violence should receive the best possible care."
The White Ring, Germany's largest aid organization for victims of crime, also supports the law, which for the first time includes psychological violence so that victims of stalking can apply for help. The White Ring also calls for the creation of a clearing house, which will make recommendations in case of difficulties in the application process. In addition, affected persons should be able to propose suitable experts themselves.
AfD causes scandal in the Bundestag
The law is supported by victims' associations and most political groups in the Bundestag - nevertheless, there was a heated debate in Parliament. The AfD politician Martin Sichert spoke of a "blood money law" and accused the government to increase aid, instead of preventing action. He hounded against Muslims, said no word of the victims in Halle. "This was the worst speech that has ever held a member of the Social Committee in the Bundestag," said SPD politician Matthias Bartke.
Sichert was officially reprimanded by Bundestag Vice President Claudia Roth. Afterwards left, FDP and Greens explained that they support the law in principle and in rare unity with the government at improvements will work. The survivors of Breitscheidplatz could have fundamentally changed the legislation for victims of violence with their letter.